Monday, October 21, 2013

Haemanthhus (Amaryllidaceae)

Haemanthus is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family confined to South Africa and Namibia. The 22 currently known species are characteristically fleshy, often hairy plants, well known for their compact, brush-like inflorescences. Their specialised fruits are berries which contain a few large, moisture-rich seeds. Species are found both in winter and summer rainfall regions.
Haemanthus dasyphyllus is native to Langberg and Kubiskouberg, north west of Loriesfontein and is found in localized populations. The leaves are light green, lanceolate with a covering of long soft white hairs on both surfaces, the abaxial surface or the edges only. The leaf blades are erect, usually twisted and speckled with red at the base.
Haemanthus pubescens is found on the sandy coastal plain from southern Namibia to Cape Town. In habitat it flowers March to April, occasionally earlier and is in leaf from March to October. It has 4 to 5 large fleshy spathe valves which surround the bright red or sometimes pink flowers. There are three subspecies.  Haemanthus pubescens ssp. arenicolus is distinguished from the others by having soft pubescens on the undersides (abaxial) of the leaves, sometimes glabrous. The leaves are channeled and recurved. The small populations of several individuals each are found in the coastal plains of southern Namibia.

Haemanthus sp. nova ex. Aus
is possibly a new species from the region near Aus, Namibia. The leaves are a very bright green, uprightly arching, thick, and shiny with a recurving leaf margin. No markings are present on the leaf undersides. The leaves in the picture were photographed at only under half of the length they grow to each winter. It might eventually be determined to be an H. coccineus, but more study is necessary.  

Haemanthus sp. nova ex. Huib Plateau is most likely a new species from the Huib Plateau in Namibia. Its miniature stature, light leaf colour, and thin leaves combined with its markings and hirsute margins make it very unique. The brown leaves surrounding it are on average 6 cm in length.
Haemanthus sp. nova ex. Lüderitz is most likely a new species from the area of Lüderitz, Namibia. Its ovate, glaucous appressed leaves make it unique. Additionally its inflorescence is somewhat diminutive and thin.

Haemanthus sp. nova ex. Namuskluft is very likely to be a new species. It is from the area of Namuskluft, Namibia. It's a miniature species (see finger for scale) with thick appressed leaves that are very densely hirsute. The markings on the leaf undersides, in combination with the aforementioned foliar attributes make this unique.

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